Italian ballerina Pierina Legnani photographed in London on the 15th of September, 1891, fifteen days before her twenty-eighth birthday.
Legnani was born and trained in Milan, went on to become the Prima Ballerina of La Scala, and had a hugely successful career around Europe. Considered one of the world’s greatest ballerinas, she was the dancer who successfully performed thirty-two fouette pirouettes en pointe. This trick is still considered extremely difficult today and is included for the main dancer in a number of ballets.
Here is Ukrainian ballerina Oksana Bondareva performing the thirty-two fouettes (at 7:50 into the video). Because she’s so good, she’s doing a lot of them as double rather than single pirouettes!
Pierina Legnani returned to Italy and continued to work for La Scala in their school until only months before her death on the 15th of November, 1930.
Rioters breaking into parish prison during anti-Italian lynchings in New Orleans, 1891.
You know when you start reading about one thing and end up discovering something completely different? This is what happened when I clicked on a link and ended up at a Wikipedia page about lynching in America.
Now, I did study a lot of North American history in high school (don’t laugh – I switched into a NA History class after I found out they got to watch The Last of the Mohicans!). I suppose what I expected by clicking on the link was a lot of information about the lynching of African Americans and their supporters – and there was. However, there was also a lot of other information.
I had no idea they were lynching Italians and people of other countries too! I know Wikipedia should be viewed as nothing more than a starting point for your research, but I’m going to quote them here anyway:
After their increased immigration to the US in the late 19th century, Italian Americans also became lynching targets, chiefly in the South, where they were recruited for laboring jobs. On March 14, 1891, eleven Italian Americans were lynched in New Orleans after a jury acquitted them in the murder of David Hennessy, an ethnic Irish New Orleans police chief. The eleven were falsely accused of being associated with the Mafia. This incident was one of the largest mass lynchings in U.S. history.